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Mysteries of memory: a short break helps you to learn faster

04.06.2019 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin
rest break

It turns out that information is better understood if you take breaks.

Physiologists have found that new knowledge is stored in the memory, not during the study period, but in a break in classes.

Specialists of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke tested this theory experimentally. The experiment involved 27 right-handed volunteers. Participants were shown rows of numbers on a computer screen, and the task was to repeat the sequences they saw on the keyboard using their left hands as quickly as possible. In the process of performing the tasks at 10 seconds of work – 10 seconds of rest intervals, the researchers measured the brain activity of the participants by magnetoencephalography.

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Analysis of the data showed the maximum brain activity occurred during the 10-second breaks. It turns out that in moments of short rest, the brain works in a beta rhythm, fixing and memorizing recently received information.

Brain rhythms:

  • Delta waves (0.5-4 Hz)—a person is unconscious or sleeping
  • Theta waves (5-7 Hz)—drowsiness, fatigue
  • Alpha waves (8-13 Hz)—relaxed wakefulness
  • Beta waves (14-40 Hz)—active brain activity, higher cognitive processes and concentration of attention
  • Gamma waves (above 30 Hz)—the human brain works at maximum capacity.

The results of the experiment confirm how important it is to properly regulate the model of work and rest periods. So during mental work, it is possible and indeed necessary to take breaks.